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Old 11-03-2010, 07:08 AM   #1
Luke King
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How to Write Books

I've developed an addiction to "how to write" books. I'd be interested to know what book/s other people have found the useful. Some of them are appalling.

I read one years ago called "How to Write a Million". I remember that being good, but it's out of print. King's "On Writing" was influential. The most useful I've found lately are:

Donald Maas: Writing the Breakout Novel
Jessica Page Morrell: Between the Lines
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
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I've battled the same addiction! I think my two favorites would have to be Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver, and Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.

I read On Writing by Stephen King, but to me it was more of a rant against poor writing than a helpful guide. He took the adverb thing way too far, imo. Now, aspiring writers are afraid of them! Its saving grace was the personal account of his accident at the end. His anger over the accident (and his inability to punish the driver) explained why the front of the book was the way it was.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #3
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Love the Don Maas book. He's become something of an industry.

Old but great is Dwight Swain's "Techniques of the Selling Writer." Everything he says about building scenes is still true. I never would have sold a book without this book.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #4
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Posted before I saw kcmay recommend Swain!

I also learned a lot from Anson Dibell's "Plot".
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:36 PM   #5
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I just counted. I have at least 52 how-to-write books in my library:



My current favorites are On Writing and Zen in the Art of Writing.

-David
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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How about Elizabeth George's "Write On"? Gave me lots of hints.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
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I liked John Gardiner's 'The Art of Fiction' as well as his 'On Writing the Novel' (not quite sure if I have the title right for the second one, but it's something like that.)

Also, Sol Stein's 'On Writing' is a good one.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
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I think what it comes down to is different people do different things different ways. I don't think there's any right way or wrong way to write a book. I honestly believe much of it is instinctive. You can write the most detailed plan, but you write it over a short period. When you write the book itself you will be thinking about it night and day over a very long period, and that should produce ideas. If it doesn't, you're in trouble. Also, I am very sceptical about "How to books." If those authors are so certain they know how to write books, why aren't they? Why are they writing for the relatively minor market of other authors instead of making millions writing for the mainstream? Like stockbrokers. If they're so good at it, why don't they just do it with their own money and make themselves a fortune instead of a percentage of someone else's? Seems to me one only enjoys a "How to write a book" book (i.e, gains reassurance) if that particular tutor says the right way to do it is actually the way you already do it!
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Last edited by Notre Dame; 12-14-2010 at 12:05 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:14 PM   #9
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I liked Robert Newton Peck's "Fiction is Folks."

Have to find a copy of Swain.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:46 PM   #10
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Best book to teach you how to write? The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmay View Post
... Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.
....
That is an excellent book!

You really have to think about (or I do) technique and inspiration and I have both categories in many different forms. Writing Down the Bones - by Natalie Goldberg is a great inspirational book Bird by Bird is pretty good as well.

One of my favorite technique books is Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
I liked Robert Newton Peck's "Fiction is Folks."

Have to find a copy of Swain.
Yes. It's excellent -- Scene Sequel....
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